Today we want to focus on losing body fat. This isn’t necessarily just for those who have 20 pounds to lose, either – even if you just want your muscles to be a little more well-defined or tone up your midsection a little, these tips are for you, too. ¬†Used in conjunction with a fat loss-specific workout, these pointers should help you burn the unwanted fat in no time.

Mostly, this is stuff you’ve probably even heard already, but it’s worth repeating.

1. Try to limit refined sugars and carbohydrates. White flour, white rice, white potatoes — throw them in this category, too. These starchy foods are all equivalent of snacking on a Snickers bar, metabolically speaking. When you eat them, you’re telling your body there is some reason to save all this sugar for energy later, and it will do so — in the form of slow-burning, sustainable fat. Simply put, the fewer sugars and fast-burning carbs you eat, the less fat you’ll store.

2. You are When you eat. You read that right. The times you eat play a huge role in determining what that food gets used for, as do the times between meals. A banana and protein shake right after an intense workout will get used for replenishing broken-down muscle tissue. The exact same meal right before bed has a more adverse effect — the sugar from the banana has no purpose, no reason to shuttle protein or nutrients to a healing muscle. Into the fat stores it goes. Generally speaking, you want to taper your calories down as the day progresses, and try to cut off carb intake the closer you get to bed time.

3. Understanding glycemic weight. This can get tricky, so we’ll give you a shortcut to think of instead. Dense, whole foods like yams, meats, whole grain breads, nuts, vegetables, etc., are generally “heavier,” but on the Glycemic Index, they’re actually lower. The high-glycemic foods, the ones to avoid, are ones that you might associate as light — crackers, chips, white bread, French fries, sweets. The feeling of fullness is a good way to tell the difference, really. The latter group is more likely to actually make you more hungry. Generally, the more a food is processed or the more sugar it contains naturally, the higher it’s likely to be on the Glycemic Index, giving it a higher glycemic weight (GW). You can lower the GW of your meals by adding lower-weight foods. For instance, a nectarine is a much healthier option as a snack when combined with a few slices of Swiss cheese, some nuts or some deli meat. If you’re trying to lose fat, skip the sugar and the fruit entirely.

4. Get efficiently full. In other words, eat the smallest amount of food possible that fills your stomach the fastest. This will happen inevitably with a high-protein and -fiber diet. Imagine a meal of a moderate-sized chicken breast, a side of broccoli and a half of a yam, with a large glass of water. Without a doubt, a meal like this would leave you full! Now, consider how huge of a portion of white pasta you’d have to knock out to get that same feeling — it’d be much more food in general, with more calories, faster-burning carbs and less nutrients that actually help. In short, make the most of each calorie.

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